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Old 14 September 2003, 12:57 PM   #1
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Hello Everyone

I have been directed to this forum by members of the 1914-1918 forum as they think that the experts on this site are more likely to be able to help with my query.

I am in the process of transcribing the 83rd Brigade War Diary for September 1915 and came across the following for 8th September, 1915 (near Kemmel)

"3pm Enemy aeroplane flew over Liege Farm in NW direction returning about 3.15pm dropping a smoke bomb to the N of Liege Farm, and a message just in rear of Sandbag Villa. The message contained information about two of our aviators recently shot down by the enemy."

Firstly, was the dropping of messages like this a common occurance? and secondly, and VERY much a long shot, has anyone any idea who these airmen may have been?


Old 14 September 2003, 02:46 PM   #2
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Using Norman Frank's Sharks Among Minnows I see 2nd Lt. E.R.C. Scholefield (pilot) and Capt. F.J.C. Wilson (observer) of 8 Sqdn. were brought down on Sept. 1, 1915 by a Leutnant Prestle of FA1.Although there is some confusion as to whether Prestle was flying a Fokker Eindecker or a two-seater Albatros. Both Scholefield and Wilson survived the crash but were captured. The destroyed aircraft was BE2c 1704. The incident is mentioned on pgs. 16-17 of the book which contains more details.
Possibly these two were the aviators in question. Although it was a full week prior to the date of the note being delivered via airmail. Anyone else have some info ?
"In the final analysis, war is far more than an extension of politics. It is the most complex, demanding, and unpredictable of all human endeavors - as learned from 1914 to 1918." - from (with slight alteration) the introduction of "Pyrrhic Victory" by Robert A. Doughty (US Army Ret.).

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Old 14 September 2003, 02:53 PM   #3
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I can help you out on the easy question, and I will leave the hard part to the real experts. It was not uncommon for aviators on both sides to drop info about shot down pilots to their comrades. While doing this the pilots risked being shot down themselves. That's one of the reasons that some of us believe that the air services in WWI were the last combatants that approached war with a sense of chivalry. This is, of course, a generalization, but it is the stuff of which legends are made.
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Old 14 September 2003, 03:33 PM   #4
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I agree,

When this happen for the first time with the 1st Sqn AFC in Palestine it caused some surprise.

The German Ace Felmy had just brought down one of our planes then came over our air strip to drop a message to same the pilot was dead.

Some of our airman quickly took off to catch up to him and shoot him down but the then British Commander stopped them.

He then sent a message across to the german airbase to thank Felmy and to say sorry for chasing him after dropping the message.

As Australian airman we still had to lean a few lessons.

Old 15 September 2003, 09:42 AM   #5
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Personally I dont think 8 sq RFC was involved in this action as they were serving on the "wrong" front area.

I personally believe that it was the crew Capt W C Adamson KIA, Lt E C Bradyll woPOW/dowo from 6 sq RFC who were brought down between Menin and Ypres on 5 Sept 1915. It is uncertain from a German view according to my sources if they were brought down in air combat or due Flak..!

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Old 15 September 2003, 01:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for your assistance Guys, I must say I am very impressed.

It is a breath of fresh air to think that despite the random slaughter that was happening below them the aviators still took enormous risks to let families on either side know the fate of their loved ones.

Thanks especially to Gunnar and Weldboy for the deatailed info.

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